Popular bow season close to starting

Bow hunters and upland game-bird hunters are prepping for the opening of their seasons, which mark the start of fall hunting in Oregon.

The bow season for black-tailed buck deer opens Saturday and runs through Sept. 23 in southwestern Oregon. The Rogue and Evans Creek units again sport the second season, which runs Nov. 10 through Dec. 2 this year.

Southwestern Oregon hunting units are open for Roosevelt bull elk tags to bow hunters Saturday through Sept. 23.

Though bear hunters have been plying the woods since Aug. 1, bow season brings the beginning of one of Oregon's growing forms of sport-hunting because of its seasons, improved equipment and the challenge of stalking big bulls and bucks.

"Everybody's pretty excited, and it seems like the season came around early this year," says Travis Day of Wapiti Archery in Grants Pass.

Recent cool and even wet weather belies the standard late-August days that at best send big game into hiding and at worst trigger forest closures over wildfire fears.

"Hopefully, this cool and overcast weather will move (deer and elk) around," Day says.

Still, there remains no magic-arrow advice for finding an animal on opening weekend.

"Like I say," Day says, "they are where you find them."

But hunters better first find their way to a Point of Sale licensing agent before Friday night's deadline to buy a hunting license as well as buck and/or bull tags.

Most bow hunters carry both tags and target one species while hoping for a shot at the other as well.

Also, the permit application for the controlled sage grouse season is Monday evening. Permit applications can be filled out at Point of Sale agents, and results will be available Sept. 1.

The controlled sage-grouse season runs Sept. 8-16 this year.

The spring chinook salmon run limped up the Rogue River to the bitter end, with the final 26 chinook deemed part of the spring run reaching the upper Rogue on Aug. 15.

Aug. 15 is considered the last counting of spring chinook over Gold Ray Dam, the lowermost part of the upper Rogue and 126 miles from the ocean. All salmon counted there beginning Aug. 16 are considered part of the fall chinook run.

That closes the books on the 2007 spring chinook run at 11,171 fish, despite mid-season changes to catch-and-release fishing for wild spring chinook and the emergency closure of all chinook fishing in part of the upper Rogue this summer.

This year's return is fewer than last year's dismal return of 11,718 fish. Only the 1992 count of 5,801 is lower. And in that year, three-fourths of the run died from disease in the Lower Rogue Canyon.

The average run into the upper Rogue is about 32,000 spring chinook.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 776-4470, or e-mail mfreeman@mailtribune.com.

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